Aeon Names President and CEO
Eric Anthony Johnson has been named president and CEO of Aeon, a nonprofit developer, owner, and manager of affordable housing in the Twin Cities.
He will step into his new role Feb. 8, taking over the top post from Alan Arthur, who is transitioning out of the office after leading the organization for 33 years.
Most recently, Johnson was chief of Economic Development, Housing and Neighborhood Services in Dallas, where he led efforts to create a $100 million fund for affordable housing. He was instrumental in adopting the city’s comprehensive economic development policy.
Johnson was born and raised in New Orleans but is not new to Minnesota. He earned a master’s of public administration from Minnesota State University, Mankato, in 1996. From 2018 to 2020, he was community development director for the city of Bloomington, where he spearheaded the creation of the city’s opportunity housing ordinance and a $15 million affordable housing trust fund. The fund’s first investment was a property Aeon acquired to preserve 306 affordable homes.
POAH Appoints VP for Mid-Atlantic Region
Maia Shanklin Roberts has been named vice president of real estate development for the Mid-Atlantic region for Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH).
She will manage POAH’s portfolio in the region, including the redevelopment of Barry Farm, part of Washington, D.C.’s New Communities Initiative to transform key neighborhoods by redeveloping public housing and the surrounding area into vibrant mixed-use, mixed-income communities. She will oversee Barry Farm's design and construction and serve as POAH’s liaison with partners and stakeholders to advance the 900-unit redevelopment project in a timely and cost-effective manner that is responsive to former Barry Farm residents’ needs.
Shanklin Roberts will also represent POAH before municipal and other regulatory boards, along with assessing the feasibility of other potential development opportunities in the Mid-Atlantic region.
Prior to joining POAH, she was a senior associate at Ballard Spahr and an associate at Bocarsly Emden Cowan Esmail & Arndt, where she facilitated and structured numerous affordable housing, adaptive-reuse, and mixed-use transactions financed with state, historic, and energy tax credits, tax-exempt private-activity bonds, and other public financing vehicles.
Shanklin Roberts also worked as a law clerk at Klein Hornig and as a housing policy fellow at THE Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.
Salazar Joins HUD
Margaret Salazar, who has led Oregon Housing and Community Services for the past five years, has been appointed regional administrator for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD’s) Region 10, which services Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.
Salazar previously served in leadership roles in HUD headquarters, where she stewarded the Rental Assistance Demonstration program and financed the recapitalization of hundreds of properties while safeguarding affordability for thousands of vulnerable seniors and families, said the White House.
She began her career in philanthropy, funding community organizations working for social and economic justice across the Western states. A longtime housing advocate, she led a successful grassroots campaign for just cause eviction protections in Oakland, California, in 2002.
Industry Veteran Launches Affordable Housing Firm
After nearly 16 years with Vesta Corp., Lewis Brown has formed his own affordable housing company. He’s the founding principal and managing director of Honeycomb Real Estate Partners.
The firm will focus on the acquisition, rehabilitation, preservation, and creation of affordable housing, says Brown, noting that his vision is to work collaboratively with partners and stakeholders to achieve high-quality housing options for our residents.
Brown brings more than 25 years of real estate experience to Honeycomb. His career in real estate began in Boston in the mid-1990s when he purchased, rehabilitated, leased, and ultimately sold a small portfolio of condominiums.
In 2005, he joined Connectict-based Vesta Corp., developing an expertise in deal identification, feasibility analysis, development planning, implementation, and construction oversight. He led Vesta’s acquisition and development team, growing the company’s portfolio, including identifying new opportunities, negotiating with sellers, and securing various sources of capital. He helped to identify and collaboratively close more than 50 transactions totaling more than $500 million of debt, including bridge, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Federal Housing Administration (FHA), state agency, and conventional sources. He has also assisted with closing in excess of $250 million of equity, consisting of historic and low-income housing tax credits (LIHTCs) as well as conventional private capital.
Smoot to Lead Fund Investments for KeyBank
Celia Smoot has been appointed to lead fund investments for KeyBank Community Development Lending and Investment. She is based in Philadelphia.
She is responsible for managing the bank’s investments in LIHTC syndicators, preservation, and workforce housing funds, and Small Business Investment Companies (SBICs). Working with SBICs will complement Key’s affordable housing investments, affecting change in community development by investing in small businesses that employ low- to moderate-income families, said the bank.
Smoot brings more than 20 years of experience in the affordable housing industry, with vast experience in finance and regulatory compliance. Prior to joining KeyBank, she was a vice president with the National Affordable Housing Trust, where she was responsible for leading engagements with housing authorities and nonprofit/mission-based developers. She implemented unique solutions to develop and preserve affordable housing in addition to structuring and raising capital for multifamily production and preservation funds.
Previously, Smoot served as director of LISC Housing and managed a national team, setting housing strategy and policy as well as structuring, managing, and raising capital for housing funds. As an attorney, she brings a strong background in affordable housing and community development real estate finance. Prior to LISC, she was an attorney with HUD as well as at the Hessel Aluise & O’Leary and Kutak Rock law firms.
Edelman Becomes President of M&T Realty Capital
Michael Edelman has been named president of M&T Realty Capital Corp. (M&T RCC) after previously serving as group vice president.
In his new role, Edelman will report directly to CEO Michael Berman and will be responsible for external customer and capital relationships, including continuing his previous work leading the organization’s relationships with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Edelman, a six-year veteran of M&T RCC, will also focus on growing the FHA and the life co-placement platforms as well as enhancing M&T RCC’s integration with M&T Bank.
Earlier in his career, Edelman held various roles at Freddie Mac in New York City, ultimately serving as vice president managing Freddie Mac’s Northeast region. In that role, he managed a staff of over 25 professionals and oversaw a loan portfolio of over $30 billion and annual origination volume of approximately $5 billion, including mixed-use properties, senior housing, co-ops, LIHTCs, and bond credit enhancements.
M&T RCC is a Fannie Mae DUS lender, a Freddie Mac Optigo lender, an approved FHA MAP and LEAN lender, and also offers life insurance company, CMBS, and debt fund financing through correspondent relationships.
Merchants Capital Hires SVP, General Counsel
Lauren Campbell has joined Merchants Capital as senior vice president and general counsel.
She has expertise in structuring LIHTC equity investment funds and multifamily real estate transactions with tax-exempt bonds, monetizable tax credits, federal and state subsidies, and agency financing.
Campbell joins Merchants from Ice Miller in Indianapolis, where she primarily represented developers on affordable housing real estate transactions. Prior to that, she spent more than seven years as an associate within the tax credit transactions practice group for Holland & Knight in Boston. While at Holland & Knight, Campbell represented nationally recognized tax credit equity syndicators in national fund offerings as well as project-level investments and proprietary investment funds.
In her new role, Campbell will join Merchants’ management team and serve as an advisor for upper management, offering guidance on issues relevant to investment fund formation, asset management, tax matters, and complex financing structures. She will also serve as a liaison for outside counsel.
Merchants Capital is one of the nation’s top lenders for the refinance, acquisition, new construction, and substantial rehabilitation of multifamily, affordable, senior, and student housing.
Arrighi Joins Tax Incentive Finance
Scott M. Arrighi has been appointed a director at Tax Incentive Finance. He brings to the company more than 25 years of affordable housing and tax credit syndicator experience.
Arrighi recently served as assistant director of acquisitions for Boston Capital, where he structured and closed more than $1 billion in tax credit equity.
While at Boston Capital, he served on the internal board for the firm’s mortgage fund as well as the Georgia Affordable Housing Coalition board, the Florida Coalition of Affordable Housing Providers, and the New York State Association for Affordable Housing. His previous real estate experience with RECOLL Management and BankBoston included managing a diverse portfolio of owned real estate and restructuring underperforming loans.
Beacon Communities Strengthens Team
Beacon Communities, a Boston-based industry leader in affordable, market, and mixed-income property development, has added three industry experts within its information technology and marketing teams.
Christopher Bittakis brings extensive knowledge of property management in affordable multifamily rental housing to the newly created post of director of enterprise applications. As a member of the IT leadership team, he will lead and collaborate with numerous stakeholder groups in the short-term and long-term planning of enterprise applications to meet Beacon’s business needs.
Michael Muratovic, Beacon’s new director of IT, has a track record in contract management, end-to-end IT infrastructure management, and change management. He also has experience in creating a robust service desk process. In this newly created role, Muratovic will be responsible for overseeing all of Beacon’s IT infrastructure.
Suzanne Amato has joined Beacon’s marketing team in the newly created role of director of performance and pricing, bringing over 20 years of experience in property management and marketing. As a member of the marketing leadership team, Amato will design, implement, and manage a wide variety of marketing and leasing initiatives and strategies to support the ongoing operations of Beacon’s diverse portfolio.
RBC Community Investments Announces Key Moves
RBC Community Investments has announced two retirements along with multiple promotions that are effective this month.
Thomas Maxwell is retiring Jan. 31 after 10 years as a regional director for the Northeast. Located in the Boston office, Maxwell has been involved with the LIHTC program from the beginning of the program, starting about 35 years ago. He established and maintained several key developer and investor relationships for RBC and originated two of the company’s largest investments to date. Maxwell has served as a mentor to the syndication team over the years with his extensive knowledge and positive attitude.
Phil Pavlovicz retired at the end of 2021 after working 10 years as a development risk manager in RBC’s New Albany, Ohio, office. He was instrumental in the creation of our DRM Policies & Procedures and a respected mentor to many team members. Over the years, Pavlovicz proved to be a valued source of experience, a wealth of information, and had a strong commitment to his work.
Stephen Lee has been promoted to director, investment manager, in recognition of his tenure and expertise in structuring, underwriting, and closing lower-tier investments. Upon the retirement of Maxwell, Lee will transition into his new role as regional director, Northeast. He joined RBC in 2010 as an investment analyst in the Charlotte, North Carolina, office working with the team to underwrite lower-tier investments, and progressed as an investment associate in that role and achieved vice president in 2015.
Lake Newcomb has been promoted to director, investment manager, and is located in the Raleigh, North Carolina, office. He provides expertise on the structuring, underwriting, and closing of lower-tier investments and also serves in a relationship management role with a key investor client. He originally joined RBC in 2012 as an investment analyst in the Charlotte office and was promoted to vice president in 2016.
Jainesh Shah has been promoted to director, co-head of financial management, and is in the Charlotte office. Shah is responsible for the efforts of RBC Community Investments’ pricing group and financial analysis departments. He joined RBC as an asset manager in mid-2010, moved into a financial analysis role in October 2011, and assumed leadership of the pricing group in late 2017, overseeing the financial structuring of investments. Over his tenure, Shah has increased his responsibilities and has been recognized through department and companywide awards for his contributions and commitment.
Brian Wensinger has been promoted to director, financial structuring, and is located in Cleveland. He joined RBC in 1997 and has worked in acquisitions, financial reporting, and investor relations with responsibility for creating and maintaining the financial models for acquisition and fund sales. This includes consulting on the financial and tax structure for the various product lines, preparing the summary of projected benefits for the tax credit equity funds, and reviewing the financial information for property investments.
Louis Bledsoe has been promoted to vice president, investment manager, and is based in Charlotte. He joined RBC in 2015 as an investment analyst and was promoted to associate in 2018. Prior to joining RBC, he served with a large financial institution as a global foreign exchange operations analyst.
Nikki Brunswig has been promoted to vice president, asset manager, and is in the Denver office. She joined RBC in 2015 as an associate, asset manager. Prior to joining RBC, she was a regional manager with Pillar Property Services for over four years and had additional property management experience with Metro West Housing Solutions.
Kelli Gutridge has been promoted to vice president, investment diligence manager, and is in the New Albany office. Gutridge joined RBC in 2008 and has closed over 200 LIHTC transactions for RBC Community Investments. She has nearly 20 years of experience in tax credit syndication.
Jake Henrich has been promoted to vice president, asset manager, and is in the Denver office. He joined RBC in 2015 as an associate, asset manager. Prior to joining RBC, Henrich had approximately seven years of experience in asset management and finance roles with a large financial institution.
Dawn Schumacher has been promoted to vice president, insurance, and is based in the Cleveland office. She coordinates and/or acts as a liaison between general partners, asset management, originations, and sales and investors. Her responsibilities include maintaining the insurance requirements during the construction and post-construction phases, obtaining verification that all collateral is secured, maintaining existing Investor relationships, interfacing with senior management and other key staff of insurance-rated companies, and preparing company specific research reports.